Legislators Disagree With Sheriff Ruth On Next Step In Meth Fight

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Several legislators say they disagree with Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth regarding requiring a prescriptions for pseudoephedrines at drug stores.

Rep. Eric Watson said, "There is a strong debate on Capitol Hill in Nashville about the next step to fight Meth in Tennessee. A few groups are pushing legislators to require a prescription for common medications that many use to fight allergy and cold symptoms. On the other side are groups that say such legislation would punish law abiding citizens for the illegal acts of drug dealers.



"A survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America indicates a strong (62-percent) majority of Tennesseans oppose requiring a prescription for cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE). Under current state law, you are required to show proper identification when buying PSE-based medicines. This procedure, passed in our state legislature in 2011, is intended to electronically track individuals or groups of individuals that are purchasing significant quantities of those medications that may then be used in the production of meth."

He said Sheriff Ruth’s article in the Cleveland Daily Banner from March 3 stated “that all pseudo-ephedrine products must be prescribed by a medical doctor.”

He said he, along with Senator Mike Bell, Senator Todd Gardenhire and Rep. Kevin Brooks "disagree with the sheriff concerning this issue. Law-abiding citizens should not be penalized and pay additional medical bills due to needing cold medicine. Right now, there is legislation pending that would enhance Tennessee’s electronic tracking system and implement reasonable purchasing limits. We believe this balanced solution is the right approach to our meth problem. A number of important local groups, local business owners, the AARP, the Tennessee Eagle Forum and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also share the position of the Bradley County State Legislative Delegation and opposes Jim Ruth’s stance."

Senator Bell said, "Asking folks to drive to the doctor to get a prescription for a common cold medication is just too much to ask until we give our tracking system time to work. Family budgets are tight and the even those with good health insurance still must pay part of the cost of the doctor’s visit,”

Senator Gardenhire said he recently met with several Erlanger doctors and "they unanimously said that this would needlessly tie up physician time and it would cause an extra expense to those that can least afford the deductible from their insurance. This idea of having these types of medicines be acquired by prescriptions would not take anything out of the war on meth. OxyContin is a prescription based drug and is given out extensively by the pill mills. Having a prescription for OxyContin has not stopped its abuse. The pill mills and Meth labs need to be shut down by the law enforcement and not put a burden on the physicians or law abiding citizens. No lobbyists, no pharmaceutical companies, no drug manufacturers, and especially no drug dealers have contacted me about this bill. These issues should stay out of local politics when an election is coming up. I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with Sheriff Ruth and discuss this as a member of the Bradley County delegation.”

Rep. Brooks said, "Sadly, there is no silver bullet to end meth production and abuse. When debating this legislation, I hope my House and Senate colleagues will keep in mind that currently the large majority of meth in America comes from across our borders. Even if we required a prescription for PSE-based products, large amounts of meth is still making its way across our borders. We must look at the root causes of this problem. We also must enforce with greater diligence the laws that are already on our books."

Rep. Watson said, “To be clear, we have a long way to go in the battle against meth. If Tennessee’s Mexican meth and prescription drug problems increase, a prescription requirement is not the answer. It would impose significant burdens on law-abiding Tennesseans without making a significant impact on our overall meth problem. I, for one, believe Tennessee’s electronic tracking system is doing exactly what it is supposed to. Just recently, it helped officers from the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit track down and arrest a Mount Carmel man who had been illegally obtaining PSE to manufacture meth. We have great laws on the books, however, our law enforcement politicians’ needs to quit working deals out with criminals and start enforcing the letter of the law. Very few criminals are punished to the fullest extent of the law anymore.”

He said, "Going forward, the Bradley County legislative delegation will continue to work together to find the best solution to fighting Meth labs in Tennessee. We have yet to hear from Jim Ruth and would welcome, if he would contact us, working with him on this important issue that not only affects Bradley County, but Tennessee as a whole."


Anturaum Dickey, 36, Arrested For Federal Warrants In Cleveland

Anturaum Montazz Dickey, 36, of Cleveland was taken into custody on federal warrants at a Blount Avenue residence by members of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office’s Fugitive Team, backed up by deputies from BCSO, on a tip provided by members of the United States Marshal’s Service.   An additional charge has been filed on Dickey for possessing a Serbian AK-47 style rifle, ... (click for more)

Local Religious Group Condemns Hammond Comments, Asks Apology

A local religious group, Mercy Junction and Peace Center, has condemned comments by Sheriff Jim Hammond on Muslims and asked for an apology. The group said, " People of all faiths, or of no faith, are invited to join Mercy Junction in front of the Islamic Society of Chattanooga for prayers on Friday afternoon. "Prayers In Solidarity" will take place outside the Islamic ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Barners Trounce Who?

There is a website known as Grammarly that just completed a profound study. An automated proof-reading company (who I hope never finds out about me) collected 100 comments that each included over 50 words from the comment blogs of the nation’s preseason Top 25 college football teams. Then they fed them into the company’s huge algorithm computer and checked each fan base for punctuation, ... (click for more)

East Ridge Football: Home Side Stands Are Closed ... Four Home Games Will Be Played on Campus

The home side football stands and press box at East Ridge High School are closed permanently due to safety issues, but for the 66 teenagers who wear the orange, white and gray for the Pioneers on Friday nights it’s a small distraction and the season continues. “Playing this Friday’s game against Signal Mountain at Baylor (7:30 p.m.) is a small distraction for us, but we know ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Sweeps Red Bank In Volleyball

Signal Mountain coach Jennifer Redman was not a very happy young lady last week when Notre Dame came up and took a 3-1 volleyball win in the Lady Eagles' gym. She knows she has an experienced team with more than her share of talent, but they just hadn't been playing like it to start the season. The veteran coach was somewhat happier Wednesday night after her team took a non-district ... (click for more)